Professor Magdalena Król from the Institute of Biology at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences was awarded the 2020 Crystal Brussels Sprouts Award in the Individual Award category. The Crystal Brussels Award has been awarded by the National Contact Point for Research Programs of the EU since 2001 for successes in the Research and Innovation Framework Programs of the European Union.
It is a distinction valued among scientists, entrepreneurs and institutions for their activity in the international arena and contribution to the development of Polish science and economy. Its originality attracted the attention of the European Commission, because before that, no country participating in the framework programs had come up with the initiative of rewarding its best participants.
This year’s Crystal Brussels Sprouts are a summary of the first 6 years in the Horizon 2020 Framework Program. In the ninth edition of the Award, the Committee of the Crystal Brussels Sprouts 2020 Award selected the winners from among the nominees for this award in the following categories:
- science: universities, research institutes, research institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences
- business: small and medium-sized enterprises, large enterprises
- local government
- non-profit entities
- individual award
In the Individual Award category, in addition to Mrs. prof. dr hab. Magdalena Król, Crystal Brussels Sprouts 2020 was also awarded to Dr. Jacek Gajewski from the National Center for Nuclear Research in Świerk.
Due to the pandemic situation, this year’s Gala of the Crystal Brussels Sprouts Award 2020 was held in the online formula. The award in this category was presented by prof. dr hab. Jerzy Duszyński, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Report from You can watch the 2020 Crystal Brussels Award Gala on YouTube .
Professor Magdalena Król in her statement after the results were announced, she emphasized that it is also an award for the entire team of scientists from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences with whom she conducts research. “If we look at Brussels sprouts as a cultivated plant, I can assure you that she will feel at home at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences. “- emphasized professor Król.
The most important directions of research conducted by prof. dr hab. Magdalena Król and a team of young scientists from the Independent Cancer Biology Laboratory from the Institute of Biology of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, concern immuno-oncology, cancer biology, the influence of hypoxia on the development of cancer cells, therapy of solid tumors, and the search for prognostic and predilection indicators of triple negative breast cancer.
One of the main research topics is the development and testing of a new cell therapy for solid tumors. The problems of modern therapy most often consist in the difficulties in reaching anticancer drugs to solid tumors, especially to their hypoxic sites. Hypoxic sites attract macrophages, which have the ability to migrate even to places distant from blood vessels, inaccessible to drugs or other immune cells. Thus, macrophages can provide a good delivery system for these regions. The research uses a protein “cage” – ferritin as a carrier of drugs that can be transported by macrophages. The ferritin “cage” is easily absorbed by macrophages, then transported to the tumor and actively transferred to cancer cells. It is the TRAIN (TRAnsfer of Iron-binding protein) mechanism of ferritin transmission to cancer cells, which the team discovered. The TRAIN mechanism was studied under the ERC Starting Grant. TRAIN points to a new way of communication between macrophages and cancer cells, which can be used to “smuggle” anti-cancer drugs directly into a cancer cell, which would constitute an innovative cell therapy for solid tumors. The ERC named this project one of the ten most interesting projects in the last 10 years.